Monday, May 27, 2013


SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Ive been really hanging back on the whole soaked flour thing. Mainly because the idea of leaving flour mixed with buttermilk on a counter overnight at room temp, and then cooking it the next morning kind of creeps me out a bit. It hard to put aside lifelong ideas about the way a certain product should be used (i.e. you do not leave milk on the counter overnight and then eat it). Yes I read about it, yes I understand everything, that doesnt make the instinct go away. Just like how, for the life of me, I just cant do frog legs. I dont care if it tastes like chicken, Im sure it does, I just dont want to eat frogs.

Anyways, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and make a damn woman out of myself, and try this shizzle out. I followed this recipe to the T, which I never do, but I didnt want to play around with things I wasnt sure of myself. I made the buttermilk with vinegar and milk. I set it on the counter and went to bed, and I literally prayed that I wouldnt poison myself out of foolishness.

Next morning, Im taking my sweet ass time to delay going to look at the bowl full of counter-pancake mixture. I finally got the courage to edge my way, took a deep breath, prayed once more that I wouldnt see a bug infested, lumpy soured milk thing that would smell 'comme le yawb' as we say in real good quebecois. Looked down and saw this:

Ok, no bugs, no weird colored growth, and when I smelled it, it didnt smell off. Very surprising, and reassuring. Time to see if these babies can actually be cooked:

Nce and bubbly, like real pancakes. This was going pretty good, nothing jumped at me from the mixture so far, so I was gaining confidence. What I didnt realize was that regular pancakes seemed to have a much shorter cooking time than soaked pancakes, so right off the bat I got either really burnt pancakes, or thick, still uncooked inside pancakes.

Sad burnt pancake face. So after readjusting my pouring sizes, after a few scrap batches of trial and error, I finally got these beautifully cooked pancakes which I immediately stacked and poured a goodly amount of our provincial treasure aka maple syrup. Time to try these babies out! Well, end result is, they tasted pretty much the same as the regular ww pancakes. The difference was how my belly felt after eating them. I think they were noticeably easier to digest, and I didnt feel bloated like I sometimes do when I eat pancakes. Of course, like a dodo head, I forgot to take a picture of the end result. Just imagine a delicious stack of pancakes. Totally sold.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

lately in the kitchen...

Making rejuvelac! It's so cute, it's started to bubble just like tibicos! I'm making it as step one to...

Making nut-based cheese! Julia lent me this book when she last came over; I was so fascinated I started soaking my rice right then and there. A product that combined sprouting, fermentation, cheese-like products and cruelty-free alternatives? Yes please!

My brother got me a little GF recipe book for Christmas, and despite its reliance on xanthan and guar gum (which, as I've mentioned here before, I boycott), it has some nice recipes. Banana, date & walnut bread is a favourite; with all the banana in it, the bread holds nicely, not like other GF breads, which tend toward crumbliness.

I'm still really into waffles. These were made with white rice flour and flax seeds and coconut oil (we ran out of butter). I really want to switch to using only brown rice flour, but it's so hard to find! I should check Aubut... Maybe it can be ordered.

Presently in the oven: cabbage "noodles"; sliced wedges with leftover canned tomatoes (the juice was mostly used for braising meatballs last night), salt, pepper, powdered garlic, parsley and oregano, with bacon fat (you could use olive oil as well obviously). I am not sure what protein I'll use, I might ask Tony to pick up some chicken. We ordered a half pig from Rheintal about a month ago, so we're very porky lately. We only eat other meat when our parents cook it for us, basically. We love pork but it is a bit... repetetive. Maybe when we're really wealthy and have six kids we can get a second freezer and buy a half cow and half pig AT THE SAME TIME! Oh, the luxury of variety! Anyway so I feel a little bit bad about contemplating getting non-pastured meat, but I guess I figure... it's all a work in progress.
I don't have pictures for these, but we've been buying milk from Les Fermes Groleau, a dairy company that pastures the cows during the summer, and let me tell you, the milk is incomparable to what you buy at most stores, organic or not. It is really a taste sensation. I have been buying it from A Votre Sante, which is far-ish for us, so we get a few at a time, pour them into mason jars and freeze them (though as I write this, it occurs to me that I may be enoying a phantom memory of Groleau products at Au Branche d'Olivier, which is much, much closer - I'll have to check!). Because it's pricier I've been more mindful of my consumption, trying to use a lot less, but we still go through it FAST because Ambrose is drinking milk like never before - it's that good!

The other tidbit is that my sugar bag is quite low, and we've continued to cut down on high glycemic index items. I keep kicking around draft lists of occasions that justify sugar and enjoying the fantasy of really just not eating sugar regularly. Fancy that! It's terribly radical! During Lent we just had sugar on Sundays, and kept with that for a good while, and have started phasing even that out, though I don't keep it strictly to Sundays. We've gotten used to it. I only remember how radical it is when we visit family. EVERYTHING has sugar! Golly, they get that you don't want dessert, but there's sugar in the yogurt, in the ketchup, in the meat, in the crackers, in the soup, seriously in all packaged products ever, it seems. And gluten-free prepackaged stuff is certainly not exempt, so aside from having the funny gums and starch "flours" up the wazoo there's usually loads of sugar in there, too. It's very kind of relatives to buy these things for us, but quite unecessary. (Mary's crackers, I should say, have no sugar, hooray!) Anyway... we are getting low on sugar... and I am thinking I'll just buy small amounts on an as-need basis. Radical!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Days Off

Have you guys ever felt like your days off/weekends are the times when you really can let your culinary creativity loose?  That is exactly how I feel whenever I have my days off (because I don’t get Saturday & Sunday off like Jeff does, I’m alone in the house, which is even better in a way because I can make seafood and other tasty things Jeff doesn’t care for). And as the official leftover user of my household (I married a very, very picky man, but I guess I knew that when I tied the knot lol), sometimes I need to pull something out of nowhere to make that chicken I’ve been eating for 3 days straight enticing. So when I get up at whatever time I want, and don’t come home after a couple of hours of angry, hot traffic, is when I really feel magic happening. And this is my magical process:
Oh, I have to use this or throw it out, so let’s start with that. And oh, look what I found, that’ll be tasty with it. And this, and this, and because I feel adventurous today, I’m going to add this, this, and this. On second thought, take out this, keep it for supper.
Yes, I talk out loud, to myself, and sometimes I address my dogs, because they have great advice. For some reason, everything looks good to them. 
I’ve said it before, and I think it’s a sentiment we all share here amongst Geeks, I really try to focus on using what’s available to me in my fridge, and more particularly, what’s about to be thrown out. I’m pretty good with planning (back on top, adjust, and rock n roll) my groceries according to my bi-weekly meals, so I get that extra thrill when I’m able to pull something off that uses everything up, no waste. Feels good to know that I’ve used my food budget wisely and efficiently, yknow? So here is a couple of snapshots of what I’ve eaten for the past couple days, and I apologize for the shitty picture quality, I full on admit that I didn’t take the time to properly snapshot anything. But trust me, it was tasty!
Grilled cheese made with 1/4 avocado, maybe 3 oz turkey breast, goat cheese, hot sauce, dijon mustard, on multi grain.  

My lunch - salmon baked with garlic and lemon, steamed broc, and a cuke-apple salad with Italian vinaigrette

BBQ TIME! Weve got a couple of honey bbq chops for the monsieur, rosemary garlic for me, potatoes, mushrooms and asparagus... HEAVEN! Im also grilling un citron in the back, once you grill a lemon, the taste and juice completely ransforms. I used it over my chop, asparagus, and shrooms.

This btw, is my fave method for shrooms, if you have two grills on your bbq. You position your grilled lemon face down so that it comes directly over the package of mushroom when you close the top. You put the mushrooms on top of some garlic and o.o., and voila! The heat causes the lemon to drip its wonderful juice right into the package, and the garlic sizzles it from beneath. CEST BON!

I made flavored water with lemon, mint and cucumber. I was worried about wasting the cucumber just to flavor water, but I ate them after the jug was done, so everything was fine in the end.
My yard's dandelions and wild strawberry blossoms! Gonna make me some lemonade and salad with these!
First lilac blossom! I love these trees so much, they remind me of my father's house, his back door neighbor had a HUGE tree of these that loomed down into our yard and I would sit directly under it when the petals and blossoms fell, and it was like a rainfall of the softest nicest smelling rain ever.
What do you guys like to cook/bake most on your days off?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oh hi picture uploader!

These are the donuts. Ugh, they were as awesome as they look. Totally crumbly and stuff. The boys ate them within reason. Only sharing because Sam is making me (geeky face).

Carob millet milk popsicles... they weren't that good actually. Ah well. I am really enjoying a new flavour, not included in the post - beet, pineapple and banana! First you get the tropical banana-pineapple explosion, which then fades and allows the beet in. I mostly used beet because I had raw beet puree for cake icing (see below) and it's just so colourful, I thought it would look nice in popsicles. Ambrose doesn't love these ones to be honest, but I very honestly do, and before we started getting a produce basket, with beets I had to figure out how to eat, I really wasn't a beet person. I genuinely like them now. Yum!

Red kale is so gorgeous. Really all kale is gorgeous. Kale is probably my favourite vegetable. Or maybe collards.

Whipping the cream cheese frosting (as per this recipe, but with a tablespoon of raw beet puree and some butter because I added too much maple and it got too thin - you DO NOT taste the beets at all! For more info on why it has to be raw beets, this post about the chemistry of beets is very informative.)

I actually also played with the cake recipe, adding a full cup of butter, if I recall correctly. I think they rose too much actually, so I am going to tweak it a little more before I publish an updated version on that (notice the steam cracks in the top)

Ambrose was a big fan. Making the icing pink makes the cake 100% more delicious :)

I've been trying to sprout beans regularly before cooking, for Tony's tummy. That is pretty simple and low-effort. However, I then skin them as much as I can, which is more time-consuming, as apparently it's the skins that have a lot of the indigestble bits (I read that in A Taste of Lebanon, not 100% sure how true it is but it makes enough sense that I'm trying it out.)

Look at all those skins in the sink!

I bought chicken feet to make stock with. Ewww, kind of! You have to cut off the nails. Ahh! They add lots of collagen or whatever.

Tony is trying GF now too, so I made him two pans of breakfast casseroles, which yielded 8 portions each. The total count was 24 eggs, about 1 lb cheddar, 5-6 medium potatoes, cooked, about 4 tomatoes and 3 spring onions, lightly cooked, and some fresh basil, and salt & pepper. I froze the portions all individually.

I've been working on opting for veganish choices if using cruelty-free animal products isn't feasible for a particular recipe, so I made coconut ice cream - two bars like this (1.45 each), 800 mL water, 1 c sugar, 1 vanilla bean, sliced, one pinch of salt, and I also added 1 tbsp dried mint - it wasn't quite enough to taste. Anyways it was nice, cooked and processed, though dry coconut bars have meat and I didn't strain, so there's definitely that flaky coconut texture. Still delicous.

Cabbage is so beautiful. ... making pork & cabbage rolls for company last week.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Follow Up

I tried sprouting lentils then cooking them. This is about as far as I let them sprout. I boiled them for over 2 hours to make soup--AND THEY NEVER GOT SOFT. Horrible. 

This really struck me as bizzarre. It's my instinct to be wary of anything pre-fab: but this is actually healthy.  But the fact that they've assembled it for you obviously jacks up the price. 

Grilled cheese with mushrooms, onions, and homemade guacamole on rosemary-olive oil bread. Delish, but a bit dry. Needed either more cheese or some mayo.
Pretty nature on campus

HOLY MEYER LEMONS BATMAN!!! (on sale. organic. for less than $3.)

It was 28 degrees for 3 days straight. He wanted to get his tan on

Finely zested meyer lemon and honey yogurt. Magical. 

Lemon, lime, and thyme water.

Coconut-lemon-thyme veggie-noodle soup, with poached salmon. Just so, so delicious